In the run-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 15) in Copenhagen, an eclectic group made up primarily of corporations and media outlets put forward the notion of “Hopenhagen.” The following is extracted from their mission statement:
Canada stumbled its way to COP 15, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper having to be literally dragged against his will to Copenhagen. Canada also signaled that it wasn’t going to be playing a serious role in moving things forward at COP 15 with Environment Minister Jim Prentice’s pre-Copenhagen announcement that the federal government’s climate action plan will take 40 years to achieve its “>atmosphere.”
CNN recently reported that a possible rise in sea levels of 0.5 meters by 2050 could put at risk more than $28 trillion worth of assets in the world’s largest coastal cities, according to a report compiled for the “>2008 and 2009. Isn’t it time Canada showed some leadership on the most pressing international issue dominating the world stage? Or are we going to be content to hide behind 40-year plans and draw even more ire from the global community when it comes to the fight against climate change?
Skeptics in Canada have used the so-called “climategate” controversy to call for a cautious approach at COP 15 or even an abandonment of mitigation measures. Climategate does not change the fact that all the credible evidence vetted in countless scientifically peer-reviewed papers shows the primary cause of climate disruption is anthropogenic and that global warming poses severe risks to humanity, requiring immediate action to limit carbon emissions. Rather, climategate is a convenient sideshow the doubters have seized upon in a continuation of their desperate efforts to defy reality and sway public policy. But climategate is not the scandal the denier camp thinks it is.
As online journalist Richard Graves, director of Fired Up Media, recently put it in an opinion piece for Common Dreams: “The real scandal is not the email archive, or even how it was acquired, sorted and uploaded to a Russian server, but rather the emerging evidence of a coordinated international campaign to target and harass climate scientists, break and enter into government climate labs, and misrepresent climate science through a sophisticated media infrastructure on the eve of the international “>computer system.
From the Times Colonist article: “The intrusions came as no surprise to Weaver, Canada Research Chair on Climate Modelling and Analysis and a member of the Nobel-winning International Panel on Climate Change. Like other scientists working in the climate-change field, Weaver says they face a well-orchestrated campaign of harassment by global-warming skeptics.”
Current climate-denying tactics are also reminiscent of malicious efforts by the tobacco industry to obscure the undeniable proof associating smoking with lung cancer. The purpose was not to prove tobacco harmless, but to cast doubt on the science and delay governments from taking action.
The denier sect is relatively small, but has the advantage of being bankrolled by greenhouse gas-producing industries. Media researcher David McKnight, of the University of New South Wales, explains their threefold strategy: “First, the implications of the science are frightening. Shifting to renewable energy will be costly and disruptive. Second, doubt is an easy product to sell. Climate denial tells us what we all secretly want to hear. Third, science is portrayed as a political orthodoxy rather than “>editorial highlighted, one has to wonder what is exactly at the root of this obduracy and antagonism. Is it solely the fact that the prime minister and the environment minister are from Alberta and feel compelled to defend the oil sands? Or is there something more, such as a lingering disbelief that climate change is even occurring? The fact is the prime minister has a track record of being a climate change skeptic. In the US, climate denial has become a crucible of sorts amongst the political right; let’s hope this dangerous mentality hasn’t migrated to their conservative brethren in Canada.